Navy schemer’s bid for new sentence opposed

FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2013 file photo, Ralph M. Mariano exits federal court in Providence, R.I., after being sentenced to 10 years in prison in a Navy kickback scheme. Mariano has asked the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out his sentence. In a court filing Thursday, May 22, 2014, the government argues Mariano is not entitled to a more lenient sentence because after he pleaded guilty, he claimed the crimes never happened. It also says he waived his right to appeal. (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Prosecutors have asked a federal appeals court to dismiss an attempt by a former civilian employee of the U.S. Navy to get a shorter sentence for orchestrating a long-running $18 million kickback scheme.

In a filing with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, government lawyers say Ralph M. Mariano waived his right to appeal the 10-year prison sentence when he signed a plea deal and should not be granted an exception. If he is allowed to appeal, they say he is not entitled to a more lenient sentence because he failed to accept responsibility after his guilty plea, claiming, among other things, that the crimes never happened.

Mariano has asked the appeals court to send his case back to the district court for resentencing. He says prosecutors and U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi unfairly did not give him credit — and a lesser sentence — for accepting responsibility because of complaints he made about alleged prosecutorial misconduct. He sent the complaints to the Justice Department and Lisi.

As part of his agreement to plead guilty to conspiracy, theft of government property and tax evasion, Mariano agreed to continue to accept responsibility through his sentencing. In return, the government agreed to recommend a more lenient sentence. But prosecutors declined to do that once sentencing came, telling the judge that Mariano had explicitly denied the scheme in the misconduct complaints.

Lisi said she had not read the complaints, but agreed with prosecutors that “he’s done just the opposite” of accepting responsibility. She sentenced him to 10 years, one month shy of the maximum under the sentencing guidelines.

Mariano asked that he be resentenced and that the judge take into account his misconduct complaints or disregard his complaints and award him credit at sentencing for accepting responsibility. That would reduce his maximum prison term to seven years and three months.

Mariano worked for the Navy in Washington and lived in Virginia. The scheme also involved people and companies in Georgia and Rhode Island.

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